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Editorial: A world ‘sans America” has truly arrived

A century ago, the U.S. established itself as the world’s superpower. Its “America First” policy has been in place ever since. It has long roiled the world by waging reckless wars for the sake of its national interests and leaving financial markets in a shambles. But now it has turned inward and its presence is diminished. We can’t recall it’s ever being in such a way before.


We may be moving into an era of a “world without the U.S.” How should we deal with this new order, or state of disorder?


President Donald Trump has been in office for six months. It’s time for the media to assess his administration’s performance and issue a report card.   


Unfortunately, the Trump administration cannot be assessed according to conventional benchmarks. It is hard to determine its strengths and weaknesses. It is also not clear who is leading the government.  


Around the time of Trump’s election, his words and actions made headlines across the globe. Some countries assigned staffers to monitor his Twitter messages, which are often posted in the early morning in the U.S.


Of late, few messages are worth reading. On the administration’s sixth month anniversary, Trump rolled out a campaign “to buy American goods,” but this initiative alone is not sufficient to resuscitate U.S. manufacturers.  


During the presidential election campaign, Trump advocated repealing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), labeling China a currency manipulator, and abolishing the “Obamacare” health insurance reform law. But what happened to these pledges? Of the many promises he made, he only delivered on the withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris accord on climate change.


President Ronald Reagan, whom Trump is said to respect, knew he has little experience in national politics and tapped James Baker, who was in a rival camp during the election campaign, to a key post to have him handle political affairs. Meanwhile, inside the Trump administration, internal wrangling lingers among those who know little of politics.


The White House is not on good terms with mainstream Republicans. Policy-making efforts have stalled. It may get so mired in Russiagate that it won’t even be able to indulge its reckless impulses. President Trump has three and a half years to go, but he may continue to sink without producing any results.


According to a recent Gallup poll, public support for the Trump administration inched up to 39% as of July 16 from 37% in June. But there is no sign that the rate will further improve. It is pointless to worry about his mood.


Then what should Japan do? It should strengthen partnerships with key nations in Europe and Asia in a bid to stem the disintegration of the international order.


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